The 2018 Seat Arona has been officially revealed in its home market of Spain this week, slotting below the larger Ateca in the company's line-up.
Set to take on the likes of the Nissan Juke, the Arona rides on the Volkswagen Group's MQB 'A0' architecture for compact vehicles, which already underpins several models including the Audi Q2 and new-gen Volkswagen Polo.
When it launches overseas later this year, the Seat Arona will feature numerous driver assistance and infotainment systems previously reserved for larger, more expensive vehicles, while also debuting an engine powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) - a first for the segment.
From the outside, the Arona's design largely follows the look of the larger Ateca - which shares much of its components and underpinnings with the Volkswagen Tiguan - including its angular sheetmetal and lights, giving the little crossover an aggressive and sporty look. There's also elements of the upcoming Skoda Karoq and larger Skoda Kodiaq at the rear.
Measuring 4138mm long, the Arona is 79mm longer than the Ibiza hatch on which it is based, while also being 99mm taller. The Arona rides 15mm higher than its Ibiza sibling.
Behind the angular tailgate is a large 400-litre boot, which is one of the best in its class, not far behind the Honda HR-V with its 437L load area.
Inside, the Arona is almost identical in its design to the Ibiza hatch, while also being very similar to the recently-revealed sixth-generation Volkswagen Polo.
The clean and uncluttered dashboard design is headlined by a large 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with numerous interior options such as LED ambient lighting, and six-speaker BeatsAudio premium sound system with 300W eight-channel amplifier and subwoofer.
Compared to the Ibiza, the Arona's seats are 52mm higher in the front and 62mm higher in the back. Headroom is 37mm greater for front occupants and 33mm at the rear.
The new SUV also offers a range of driver assistance technologies including front assist with autonomous emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control with stop&go function, hill hold control, driver fatigue monitor, multi-collision brake system, rear-view camera, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and a park assistant that can complete parallel and angle parking tasks.
Other features available include keyless entry and start, wireless smartphone charging, and automatic headlights and wipers.
Under the bonnet, the Arona will come with a range of small-capacity turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, including a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol in both 95PS (70kW) and 115PS (84kW) tunes, and a 150PS (110kW) four-cylinder petrol engine (of an unknown displacement) with cylinder deactivation technology.
There's also a 1.6-litre TDI turbo-diesel in both 95PS (70kW) and 115PS (84kW) guises. From mid-2018, the company will offer a 90PS (66kW) 1.0-litre three-pot turbo that can run on compressed natural gas (CNS), a first for the compact crossover segment, while "certain overseas markets" will also get a 110PS (81kW) 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine.
Five- and six-speed manual transmissions are offered as standard, depending on the engine, with a seven-speed DSG optional on certain models.
The Arona will also be available in a wide range of exterior colours, along with three contrasting roof colours. Seat says there are 68 possible colour combinations, along with various interior trims and fabrics.
While the Seat brand is unlikely to make its way to local showrooms anytime soon, the Arona serves as a preview of what to expect from the new-generation Polo and its T-Roc crossover companion when they arrive over the next couple of years - particularly in terms of infotainment, driver assist tech and engines.
The next Polo is due in Australia in the first quarter of 2018, while the T-Roc isn't expected until 2019.
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